Candidate Questionnaire: Tony Hwang

Q1 YOUR PERSONAL CONNECTION TO THE ARTS

The pandemic has been challenging for so many in CT and in so many ways.How have you personally benefited from the arts or creative expression in the last few months? What local arts experiences have you missed most during the shutdown?

expressions of emotions through music and visual arts has been essential to coping with the Covid pandemic. I miss the theatrical and live performances of music and drama.

Q2 ARTS + ECONOMIC RECOVERY

CT can’t recover without the arts. Arts and culture are key for CT’s economic recovery. Creative industries pump $9 billion into the state and account for 3.5% of CT’s total economy. Our non-profit arts organizations support 23,000 jobs, generate $800 million annually, and return $7 back in tax revenue for every $1 invested by the state.How will you help harness the power of the arts for CT’s economic recovery?

CT can’t recover without the arts. Arts and culture are key for CT’s economic recovery. Creative industries pump $9 billion into the state and account for 3.5% of CT’s total economy. Our non-profit arts organizations support 23,000 jobs, generate $800 million annually, and return $7 back in tax revenue for every $1 invested by the state. These are powerful and impactful data points reinforcing arts & culture as an integral economic force in our communities. We need to raise awareness and educate our political and economic leaders about its impact.

Q3 ARTS HEAL + REBUILD

Creativity helps us process loss, fight loneliness, and create vibrant, resilient communities that

attract and retain residents, businesses, and visitors. What do you think is an important role for arts and culture to play in healing and rebuilding the social fabric of our cities and towns?

One of the effects of Covid pandemic is the social distancing and for some.. social isolation. Arts & culture feeds the soul and works to help healing and brighter perspective toward rebuilding the unknown and “new” social fabric of our cities, towns and state.

Q4 ARTS SUPPORT RACIAL & SOCIAL JUSTICE

The pandemic has deepened existing divides in Connecticut, particularly along the lines of race and class. The arts create shared experiences that can unite people and bridge divides to acknowledge the strength in our differences. Do you believe the arts can help build racial and social justice in Connecticut? If so, how?

I have personally experienced arts in breaking barriers and biased perceptions, while creating outlets and inspiration for all individuals to express and communicate beyond racial, religious, gender and ethnic perceptions. Arts and culture is a universal language.

Q5 CT NEEDS HELP FROM THE ARTS

With 62% of artists unemployed and most arts organizations unable to reopen, the industry needs emergency support to recover and thrive. CT’s arts and culture sector has suffered an estimated $400 million in economic losses. Will you support emergency funding to support the arts industry in Connecticut? If so, from what source and at what level?

We need to support funding to rescue our arts industry, but we first must establish a public policy consistent with health and safety to engage in larger crowd gatherings. We need to seek funding from a unique combination of private/public partnerships that also must include federal, state, local and individual sources.

Create the Vote CT is a nonpartisan public education campaign to raise awareness and support for the arts among voters and candidates running for public office. CT Arts Alliance launched the first Create the Vote CT during the gubernatorial election in 2018 and inspired focus on the arts during Governor Lamont’s transition and helped stabilize statewide public funding for the first time since the Great Recession. The initiative was originally conceived and developed at MASSCreative, a state arts advocacy organization in Massachusetts.

Regional Partners

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